“No one is unhappy. Not one of my friends would let his wife drive.”

The Guardian also reports on the Haredi school in north London that bans children whose mothers drive them to school.

The group runs Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass, a boys’ primary school, and Beis Malka, a primary school for girls. Both have been rated good by Ofsted.

The schools had said that, from August, any child driven to school by their mother would be turned away at the school gates. The letter said the ban was based on the recommendations of Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer spiritual leader in Israel.

It said that if a mother has no other choice but to drive her child to school – such as a medical reason – she should “submit a request to the special committee to this effect and the committee shall consider her request”.

That “no other choice” is a bit opaque. It seems to consider the need of parents to be able to schedule their activities and divide the household labor in accordance with their own schedules and convenience to be a mere frivolity. Driving a kid to school isn’t a recreational activity or a hobby (although it can provide a rare few minutes of quiet time to talk). It isn’t optional, it isn’t a fun extra. Even leaving aside the gross sexism, it’s bizarre that a school would think it’s entitled to micromanage parents’ activities in this way…but then that’s the point of belonging to an ultra sect, I suppose – if there weren’t a lot of stupid fiddly intrusive rules and forbiddings, it would just be average and boring. [Read more…]

Mothers of our students who have begun driving cars

So are Haredi Jews in London jealous of their Muslim counterparts in Saudi Arabia?

Leaders of the ultra-Orthodox Belz sect in north London wrote to parents saying “no child will be allowed to learn in our school” if their mother drives.

Women driving “goes against the laws of modesty within our society”, it said.

What’s so immodest about driving? I drive when I have access to a car, and I think I do it pretty damn modestly. I’ll admit it does enable me to get from point A to point B more quickly than other forms of movement, but what’s immodest about that? Unless “modesty” means being boxed up all the time. Are women of the Belz sect in north London forbidden to leave the house?

If they are, isn’t that a crime? Isn’t it a crime to confine people by force? [Read more…]

One of the Charlie Hebdo dissenters did change her mind

Whaddya know – Jesus & Mo Author alerted me to the fact that one of the Charlie Hebdo protesters actually did listen and did learn and did reverse her position. It was reported in the Norwegian weekly paper Morgenbladet.

«Dårlig informert». – Jeg har akkurat bedt om at mitt navn tas vekk fra listen, skriver Jennifer Cody Epstein, bestselgende forfatter og oversatt til norsk to ganger.

Også hun har endret mening.

– Min opprinnelige impuls var basert på noen alvorlige feiloppfatninger som jeg frykter at flere andre underskrivere deler, selv om de kanskje ikke snur offentlig i en litt pinlig form, slik jeg gjør nå.

Epstein sier at hun misforsto Charlie Hebdos oppdrag og innhold fundamentalt, og etter hvert skjønte at Charlie Hebdo var satire, ikke et forsøk på å utnytte «rasismen, islamofobien og anti-semittismen som vokser frem rundt om i verden».

Google translate with some tweaks based on guesses:

Translation by Harald Hanche-Olson:

“Misinformed”. – I have just now requested the removal of my name from the list, writes Jennifer Cody Epstein, bestselling author and translated to Norwegian twice.

She too has changed her mind.

– My original impulse was based on some serious misunderstandings which I fear are shared by several other signers, even if they don’t turn around in public and somewhat embarrassingly, the way I am doing now.

Epstein says that she fundamentally misunderstood Charie Hebdo’s mission and contents, and came to understand that Charie Hebdo was satire, not an attempt at exploiting “the racism, islamophobia, and anti-semitism that are growing around the world”.

– After some investigating and soul searching, I have concluded that my opinion was based on information that was lacking and, to be quite honest, wrong – even if the intentions were good.

So, good for her. If only more would follow suit!

If we want young women to speak up

Kate posted a comment on that article. I wonder if Espinoza will reply…and apologize.

Hello all – I am Kate Smurthwaite and I feel I should clear a few things up. Firstly I didn’t say young women “shouldn’t speak up” I said if we want young women to speak up [we] should focus on making sure it is safe for them to do so, rather than giving them patronising pep talks.

Secondly the suggestion that I should maybe not get paid for doing my job or that I should spend my time visiting state schools (who generally can’t afford to pay me) rather than private schools is ridiculous. As I said in my article, I have to take work that pays before work that doesn’t pay. I think it’s deeply regrettable that that means state school students miss out on interesting speakers. I am actively involved in campaigns for better school funding. I can’t live on air though so I have to do paid work. I’m JUST GUESSING the journalist who spent a whole five minutes writing this also expects a paycheque at the end of the day. [Read more…]

No she did not say young women “shouldn’t speak out”

The Telegraph goes out of its way to misrepresent a column Kate Smurthwaite wrote for The Teacher. I know this because I saw Kate’s correction of the Telegraph’s misrepresentation on Facebook.

The correction first:

For the benefit of those asking – no I did not say young women “shouldn’t speak out”, I said if we want them to rather than dishing out pep talks we should be making it safe for them to do so online. Otherwise this piece is fairly accurate.

Other than misrepresenting her core point, it’s fairly accurate.

Now Javier Espinoza’s Telegraph piece:

A BBC writer and comedian who is paid by private schools to give motivational talks says girls should “not speak up” as they will get bullied online.

Kate gently points out that it’s not all that odd to be paid for one’s work. It seems quite likely that Javier Espinoza doesn’t write for the Telegraph for nothing. [Read more…]

The FHA adopted a racial policy that could well have been culled from the Nuremberg laws

A key paragraph from Richard Rothstein’s From Ferguson to Baltimore: The consequences of government-sponsored segregation:

When the Kerner Commission blamed “white society” and “white institutions,” it employed euphemisms to avoid naming the culprits everyone knew at the time. It was not a vague white society that created ghettos but government—federal, state, and local—that employed explicitly racial laws, policies, and regulations to ensure that black Americans would live impoverished, and separately from whites. Baltimore’s ghetto was not created by private discrimination, income differences, personal preferences, or demographic trends, but by purposeful action of government in violation of the Fifth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments. These constitutional violations have never been remedied, and we are paying the price in the violence we saw this week.

He gives details of how ghettos are created, including:

Unable to get mortgages, and restricted to overcrowded neighborhoods where housing was in short supply, African Americans either rented apartments at rents considerably higher than those for similar dwellings in white neighborhoods, or bought homes on installment plans. These arrangements, known as contract sales, differed from mortgages because monthly payments were not amortized, so a single missed payment meant loss of a home, with no accumulated equity. In the Atlantic last year, Ta-Nehisi Coates described how this system worked in Chicago.

So let’s see Coates’s description: [Read more…]

Majority viciously attacking small numbers of dissent

Speaking of the Charlie Hebdo protests…a few days ago Joyce Carol Oates retweeted a string of remarks by Dan Therriault, then made some of her own.

The first:

Dan Therriault ‏@dantherriault May 22
With PEN dissent, I suspect more writers would have separated themselves from Hebdo content if those few who dissented were not so vilified.

Majority viciously attacking small numbers of dissent used to stop more dissent, to threaten quiet others & maintain their majority opinion.

This devaluing of dissent in the US bleeds into everything, the media questioning authority, political parties, attacking corporate culture.

But it’s truly disheartening to see writers pulled along the cultural move to the right to attack fellow writers for their rational dissent.

[Read more…]

Nobody’s mind seemed to change

Paul Berman starts his long and brilliant article on the Charlie Hebdo-PEN protests by noting that both sides agreed on the values; it was the facts that were contested.

The protesters, most of them, wanted the world to know that, in regard to press freedoms, their commitments were absolute. Willingly they would defend the right even of Nazis to say whatever terrible things Nazis might say, as the ACLU once did in Illinois. But they honestly believed that Charlie Hebdo is a reactionary magazine, racist against blacks and bigoted against Muslims, obsessively anti-Islamic, intent on bullying the immigrant masses in France. A dreadful magazine. Nazi-like, even—therefore, a magazine not even remotely worthy of an award from PEN. On these points the protesters were adamant. Only, why?

A modest heap of useful information about racism in France and the distinctly non-Nazi political nature of Charlie Hebdo and its cartoons did accumulate during the course of the affair, and the modest heap ought normally to have changed a few minds. Nobody’s mind seemed to change, however.

[Read more…]


Josh Marhsall at Talking Points Memo:

In Touch Weekly is reporting that in 2007, when Josh Dugger was 19[,] he sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services to prevent them from making a finding against him or possibly to prevent on-going monitoring of his interactions with his sisters.

I’m writing this here in the Editor’s Blog because In Touch Weekly‘s reporting on this seems thinly sourced and, let’s be honest, In Touch Weekly is not where we normally go for industry standard reporting.

They had documents for the previous stories, but this one is just “as told to.”

According to this report, when local police decided that no crime had been committed within the three year statute of limitations, they nonetheless referred the case to Arkansas’s Families in Need of Services agency. The FNS has a different charge – not criminal culpability but protecting the welfare of children in the state. In other words, the statute of limitations wouldn’t be relevant to their ability or charge to monitor Josh Duggar since he was still living in the Duggar home with his younger sisters.

So a bit less than a year after an anonymous tipster put in motion the chain of events that led to the actual police investigation in 2006, Josh Duggar apparently sued the state to block something the state DHS was doing. This was around the time that the Duggar family reality show was moving into production for its first season in 2008.

So they probably didn’t want quite that much “reality” in their “reality show” about how fabulous they are.

Josh Duggar was apparently successful in his legal action. According to the report, the records of the lawsuit as well as the documentation which the suit was over are both sealed.

Maybe he too will be invited to speak at TAM.